Originally Published in the December 2018 edition of the Kansas Messenger
Written by Regional Ministers Steve Martin & Ken Marston
It is good to be in Kansas! We are constantly amazed at the level of commitment and vision in our church leaders, and their generosity in sharing with the wider church. The Kansas Region is known for being a strong Regional Church: strong camp and youth program, excellent leadership development, ministries with women and men and the list goes on!
Kelly Gindlesberger, pastor at Shelton Memorial Christian Church in Ulysses and current Regional Moderator, explains our 2019 General Fund deficit this way:
“If we wish to continue benefiting from a strong Regional Church, we, collectively, have to fund the Region on a more sustainable basis. Again, there are two ways to deal with budget shortfalls; increase income and/or cut spending. The spending side of the equation is under scrutiny as part of the Region Re-visioning process…,”
The Kansas Region has three basic sources of income:
- DMF Offering dollars, often called outreach, from congregations, of which 52% are shared with the ministries of the church beyond Kansas
- The Annual Fund, where churches and individuals give to the Operating Fund
- The Christmas Offering, one of the six special offerings each year. 100% of the Christmas offering given by Kansas churches supports the work of our Kansas Region.
As important and relevant as this is, we don’t want anyone to think that the regional ministries of the church are all about money. Just the opposite is true! Consider these regional ministries:
Search and Call:
Each year Kansas congregations search for ministerial leadership. In 2018 so far, 24 of these took place, and a few are still underway. Each search involves many calls and resumes to review, and references to contact. Calling a new pastor is a significant effort!
Commission on Ministry:
Our Commission on Ministry supervises and credentials over 150 clergy across Kansas. Most are serving congregations; some are chaplains or in other ministries, and some are retired.
The region has given out more than $6,000 in scholarships to seminary students, have been caring for 10 commissioned ministers and 6 ordination candidates.
Every month seven different clergy cluster meetings occur to build collegiality, provide encouragement and support for congregational ministers to sustain long term ministries.
Crisis Management & Congregational Transformation
Congregational crisis management is significant. The Regional Ministers are ready to help, seeking to find reconciliation among church members when there is an issue.
With the help of a $25,000 grant from the Kansas Leadership Center and a $20,000 grant from the Kansas Bible Chair, the region has supported leadership training for clergy and laity in attending 41 different training sessions in adaptive leadership skills. We have received a second grant for 2019.
Finally, districts through out the region had their own leadership training events bringing speakers from the General Church in Indianapolis to discuss how they can transform their congregations.
Mission & Acts of Service
Mission is essential. Within the region we encourage and help with mission trips to various places, including Nicaragua, Denver, South Texas and more.
Faith Formation & Spiritual Growth
Faith formation and spiritual growth programs touch many lives: summer camp, retreats for men, women and specialized groups such as Bethany groups for clergy, workshops, seminars, and clergy support groups.
Two times a year, 15 clergy meet for self-run clergy spiritual retreats at the Heartland Center for spirituality and once a year the Annual Spiritual retreat is an opportunity for clergy and church leaders to strengthen their relationship with God and learn about the spiritual journey that nurtures Christian faith.
In 2018, Kansas Disciples Men began emphasizing mission. The cabinet spent some time helping the Sawyer Christian Church repair their building after a fire. The men’s “Cooking for Missions” events raised over $2,000 with half going to ministries addressing the problem of childhood hunger in Kansas. The other half was sent to the General Conference of Disciples Men for supporting nutrition programs for children around the country.
This year the traditional Men’s retreat and Odyssey experiences were held back to back on the same weekend. The Odyssey retreat continues to cast the vision for men to take the journey of developing Christ-like character in themselves and the teenagers in their lives.
The Kansas Region is strong, and still there is room for growth. Currently, the Regional Board is working with a Vision Task Force to help shape the next generation of regional ministry. And in this post-religion age we all want to know how to be an effective part of the Body of Christ in this time.
Your entire regional staff join together, sharing ministry together, and looking for ways to better serve in the name of Christ. We cherish our partnership with each congregation. Share your ideas anytime!